Heel spurs are small bony growths about 0.13 in. (0.32 cm) or longer on underside of the heel bone.
Most spurs point parallel to the bottom of the foot and do not cause weight-bearing problems when the person stands or moves.
In the past, it was thought that heel spurs caused heel pain and plantar fasciitis.
There is now some disagreement about heel spurs.
Some experts believe they may occur with plantar fasciitis but are unrelated to it. Others believe they cause heel pain, and some believe they are a natural result of aging.
In general, heel spurs are believed to be the result of the process of how plantar fasciitis develops (not the cause of it). They may occur due to inflammation and to the pulling of the plantar fascia on the heel bone.
There seems to be strong agreement that simply having heel spurs (seen on an X-ray) does not (by itself) mean that a person needs surgery. Some people have heel spurs and no pain; others have heel pain and no spurs.